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Downgrading from 3v herms to BIAB or Robobrew?

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by Truman42, 11/4/19.

 

  1. Truman42

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    Posted 11/4/19
    Howdy brewers,

    After almost 10 years of brewing and building up my system from a simple BIAB setup to a 3v herms system Im now looking at downgrading back to a more simple setup. The 3v herms has done me well but I dont brew as much as I used to because I dont drink as much anymore.
    The 3V system was a pain to setup and then clean and pack up after brew day and I now prefer to brew smaller batches of around 10-15 litres for the most part.

    So my options are use my 18 litre and 40 litre crown urn for BIAB brews. Or purchase a Robobrew.

    I like the idea of recirculating the mash, doing step mashes and mash outs with a robo brew but does it really produce better quality beer when compared to a BIAB?
    Im just not sure if the cost of a robobrew (Although cheap enough) is worth it and will produce better beer compared to BIAB.

    Anyone been down the same path?

    Also how well does the robo brew handle smaller 10-15 litre batches?
     
  2. Tex083

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    Posted 11/4/19
    I built a 3V with PID control 2 pumps and 3 way valves so I didn’t have to change a hose while brewing. It made some great beer and was a lot of fun putting it together. 2 years ago we had our 1st child and the days of spending hours in the brewery we’re gone! I did a few BIAB in my boil kettle using a plastic bucket lauter tun as a sparge vessel.
    My wife bought me a Robobrew for my birthday as I was not brewing a lot because the fun had gone out of it. I have put a number of brews through the Robobrew and love it. It’s not as shiny or as custom as my 3V but it makes good beer in a small footprint that takes 5mins to clean at the end of brew day.

    As for the cost, I much prefer my robobrew to my BIAB, I can set the temp and put my toddler in the bath and into bed while the Robobrew maintains mash temp for as long as I need. It will also do a step mash if you want to do that sort of thing.

    Good luck on your quest, have a look at Brewtools if you want to drop 2k on a bloody beautiful single vessel system.
     
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  3. Schikitar

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    Posted 11/4/19
    I'm currently BIAB'ing with a 40L Crown Urn which has been great but I'd also be happy to upgrade/sidegrade to a Robobrew or similar. Being able to do a full volume mash just simplifies things though and there's beauty in simplicity (and savings to be made).

    That said, my urn has trouble getting a good boil on and the ability to recirculate the mash (for clarity/efficiency) is attractive.. if I was starting out all over again I'd probably go the Robobrew or similar single-vessel system. Don't think I could ever be arsed to go 3V unless I was getting paid for my beer! Ha!
     
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  4. Truman42

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    Posted 11/4/19
    I agree with you there, my 3v was a lot of fun setting it up and brewing great beers back in the day. But whilst my kids are older than yours so thats not an issue. but I just couldnt be bothered setting up the 3V and cleaning up after brew day so it started taking the fun out of it.

    I like the idea of the step mash in the robobrew also.
     
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  5. Truman42

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    Posted 11/4/19
    I was going to ask about that. So I know you can recirculate with the robobrew which will clear your wort but wont all that been undone as soon as you lift the malt pipe up and drain the wort from the grain?
    Same way as it does with BIAB even if youve lautered?
     
  6. Schikitar

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    Posted 11/4/19
    I'm not the best person to answer that but I believe even a gentle/static recirc will eventually keep the finer stuff locked in towards the top of the malt pipe and grain bed. With BIAB the wort spills out in all directions and then finer stuff can escape pretty easily, whereas with a malt pipe it's forced from the top down and the grain bed acts as a better filter. That's my basic understanding and would love to be corrected if wrong about that. Ultimately you'll deal with that flour/trub in the fermenter, it's just that one way will give you less to deal with than the other.. I think the bigger pay off is probably any points gained with efficiency, in my BIAB setup I pretty get about 73%, I think that's a little low compared to other 1V/2V/3V brewers, not sure..
     
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  7. Meddo

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    Posted 11/4/19
    You could build yourself a pretty sweet recirculating 1V using that CBP controller (time permitting...) and perhaps repurposing some of your 3V components. I'm driving a 9kw (twin element) double batch 1V with basically an identical controller.
     
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  8. Truman42

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    Posted 12/4/19
    Whats a CBP controller?? I didnt know I had one..lol
     
  9. Truman42

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    Posted 12/4/19
    Yeah that makes a lot of sense to me. If the wort and sparge water can only go down through the grain bed and out the bottom then its going to be filtered nicely.
     
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  10. Meddo

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    Posted 12/4/19
    Sorry, wrong thread. Actually it's even the wrong forum. How well am I going??
     
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  11. chesl73

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    Posted 12/4/19
    I moved from BIAB to a 1V vessel last year (Guten) and it's been well worth the investment. My BIAB was stove top and ended up a pain in the arse and a bit messy and heating without burning the bag and so on. The Guten is just a simpler, cleaner, easier process that produces great beer. I do standard 5 gal batches on it but I also do smaller 10 to 14L batches as well. Works well. Whatever 1V system you look at, I think they are great and worth the money.
     
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  12. Meddo

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    Posted 12/4/19
    And the rest... But still, apart from a couple of minor points the Brewtools vessel is pretty close to my taste in terms of ideal 1V design. Would love to see what those valves look like broken down. The minimum batch sizes according to the documentation are pretty restrictive though.

    Re the Robobrew and other Grainfather-style 1Vs, I've always been pretty sceptical about getting the pump and pipework thoroughly clean. Cleaning is my biggest concern in vessel design - anywhere that water can pool will potentially grow mold. Can the pump head and pipework be broken down quickly/easily to allow everything to drain and dry properly?
     
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  13. Milhouse

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    Posted 13/4/19
    Having moved from BIAB to a robobrew about 6 months ago I can say no it doesn't make better beer. However it is far easier and less time consuming. Less time consuming in that temperatures are controlled, you don't necessarily take less time to brew but there is more down time and it is safer to walk away from.
     
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  14. Truman42

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    Posted 15/4/19 at 2:25 AM
    Thats what Im looking for, being able to just set and forget and go and do other things.

    My 3V herms runs with a pid and although I can leave it be there is still so much to do once I start boiling etc.
     
  15. DU99

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    Posted 15/4/19 at 3:15 AM
    i went from BIAB to grainfather/robobrew type unit...easier to control...
     
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